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    Description

    The Historic and Important Deluxe Engraved Colt Model 1849 Pocket Revolver Presented to Gunsmith Anson Chase from the Inventor, Colonel Colt
    The silver-plated backstrap Inscribed:
    Anson Chase
    From the Inventor.
    Serial number 33598/. .31 caliber, 5-shot cylinder with stagecoach holdup roll scene. 5-inch octagon barrel with brass pin front sight. Top of barrel inscribed
    Saml. Colt
    within scroll borders. Scroll and border engraved in doughnut or cloud style and relatively profusely, with coverage on the barrel, loading lever, frame, hammer, and gripstraps. Screws also engraved, as is the wedge. Dolphin head motif on each side of the hammer. Richly and finely knurled hammer spur. Blued finish, with color case-hardened frame, hammer, and loading lever, and silver-plated brass gripstraps. The grips of varnished walnut of select grain.
    Accompanied by gunmaker's pull ink and embossed print from the barrel lug of Colt Navy revolver, serial no. 3769, featuring an engraved portrait of Colonel Samuel Colt. The pull believed to have been done by the engraver himself, attributed to Waterman Lilly Ormsby. Measuring 1 ¼- by 2 5/8-inches, this pull was taken from the presentation Model 1851 Navy given by Colonel Samuel Colt to his chief patent attorney, Edward N. Dickerson.
    Further, the pull was based on a specific daguerreotype, made of Colonel Samuel Colt in 1851, passed down through generations from the Colt estate to a grand nephew of Colonel and Mrs. Colt, Caldwell Colt Robinson.
    Also accompanied by a personal card of Mrs. Samuel Colt, from her estate, Armsmear, and bordered in black. An inscription in her handwriting states "with compliments." The card possibly used by Mrs. Colt in presenting a copy of the book Armsmear, which she had published as a memorial to her late husband, in 1866. The card measures 1 15/16-inches by 3 3/16-inches.
    Varnished rosewood case with escalloped brass plaque inlaid on lid, ivory keyplate inlaid on front of case. The casing lined in burgundy velvet. Embossed American eagle and shield powder flask, brass double cavity bullet mold, tin of Eley Bros. percussion caps with green paper label, blued L-shaped screwdriver/nipple wrench, packet of combustible envelope cartridges by Colt's Cartridge Works, and miscellaneous round and conical lead projectiles. Green paper cover on bottom of case.
    Quoting from the detailed documenting letter from R.L. Wilson, accompanying the set:
    The Anson Chase-Samuel Colt presentation Model 1849 Pocket revolver is of museum quality and importance. If it were a part of the Colt Collection of the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, or of the Connecticut State Library, its display location would be directly next to prototype pieces which Chase made for young Samuel Colt, in the early 1830s. The author regards this cased revolver as one of the most historic and interesting of presentations made by Samuel Colt. It honors the principal gunmaker who built the first of the Colt revolvers, and was a gift from the inventor himself.
    Considering that Colt had called on Chase to appear as a witness for the plaintiff (Colt) in the Colt vs. Massachusetts Arms Co. patent litigation trial of 1851, it is reasonable to state that this presentation revolver was in appreciation of Chase's testimony.
    At about the same time that Colt presented this cased revolver to Chase, the Colonel also presented an elaborate cased set of an inscribed Model 1849 Pocket revolver (serial no. 19395) and a matching Model 1851 Navy (no. 3769) to his principal attorney in the Colt vs. Massachusetts Arms Co. trial, E.N. Dickerson. The Navy was engraved with a portrait bust of Colonel Colt, on the right side of the barrel lug. The gunmaker's pull accompanying the Chase revolver is an impression taken directly from the portrait on Dickerson's Navy pistol, at the time of its manufacture.
    Numerous advertisements have been located by researcher Conor FitzGerald, in regard to the gunsmithing and clock-making career of Anson Chase. Some samples are enclosed.
    Conclusion:
    As the gunsmith who made the first prototype of the Colt revolver (a handgun which exploded when fired by Samuel Colt), and other early Colt repeating firearms, Anson Chase played a key role in the early evolution of Colt's invention. During the landmark trial, Colt vs. Massachusetts Arms Co., Anson Chase appeared as a witness for the plaintiff, Samuel Colt. The successful conclusion of the trial, litigated principally by Edward N. Dickerson, was instrumental in protecting Samuel Colt's pistols from being infringed upon by rivals, not the least of which was the defendant, the Massachusetts Arms Co., Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts.
    Therefore, Colonel Colt's presentation of this cased, engraved and inscribed Pocket Model revolver is of inestimable significance in the history of Colt firearms. The set represents the gratitude of Samuel Colt, to the talented gunsmith who c. 1831-32 assisted the youthful inventor in fulfilling his dream.
    The fact that the set is accompanied by a personal calling card from Mrs. Samuel Colt, as well as the gunmaker's pull taken at date of manufacture from the Dickerson Navy Colt revolver, adds to the value and rarity of this unique and important ensemble.
    The daguerreotype of Colonel Samuel Colt, c. 1851 pictured above is the source image for the engraved portrait of Colt on the barrel lug of the E.N. Dickerson Navy. See volume I, Chapter IV of Robert M. Lee and R.L. Wilson, Magnificent Colts, which publishes the E.N. Dickerson cased set of presentation Colt revolvers, the Colonel Colt daguerreotype and the gunmaker's pull. The photo of the daguerreotype courtesy Albert Brichaux Collection.
    Literature:
    See American Percussion Revolvers, page 78.
    R.L. Wilson, The Colt Engraving Book, volume I, page 48. The caption for the three color illustrations includes the following statement:
    This set as one of the most historic and important of presentations made by Samuel Colt; it honors the man who made the first of the Colt revolvers, and was a gift from the grateful inventor himself. Without the aid of master gunsmiths like Chase and John Pearson, Colt might never have achieved such considerable success as a gunmaker.
    R.L.Wilson, American Arms Collectors Percussion Colt's and Their Rivals The Al Cali Collection, pages 25-27.
    Provenance:
    Anson Chase
    Anson Chase heirs
    gap between heirs and the first collector known to have owned the set:
    McMurdo Silver (believed purchased in the area of Hartford)
    Leonard A. Busby
    William M. Locke
    Al Cali


    Condition Report*: Excellent. Cylinder scene and all markings sharp. Color case hardening with light fading, 90-95% blue finish and 100% varnish. Unfired. Case and accessories excellent. Mrs. Samuel Colt calling card and gunmaker's pull of Colonel Samuel Colt portrait excellent.
    *Heritage Auctions strongly encourages in-person inspection of items by the bidder. Statements by Heritage regarding the condition of objects are for guidance only and should not be relied upon as statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty, or assumption of liability by Heritage. All lots offered are sold "AS IS".

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2011
    18th Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 5,115

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